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Long Island friends born together, dance at prom together

Hunter Barbella and Meredith Peters played together in

Hunter Barbella and Meredith Peters played together in 2001 at the Syosset-Woodbury Community Park, and went to Syosset High School prom together in 2017. Credit: Courtesy of Bebe Barbella

Hunter Barbella of Syosset and Meredith Peters of Greenlawn have a special connection: They were born just five hours apart at Huntington Hospital in May of 1999.

However, their paths didn’t cross until their mothers joined the same support group about a week later.

“Hunter never knew life without Meredith,” said Bebe Barbella, Hunter’s mother.

The best friends, now 18, attended each other’s communions and had frequent playdates as kids.

“One of my earliest memories is us playing in my backyard,” Hunter Barbella said. “I don’t really remember what we were doing; we were probably 2 or 3.” He added, “Our families have just lived parallel our whole lives.”

Barbella went on to attend Syosset High School, while Peters studied at Harborfields. They remained friendly over the years, but it was chance that led both of their families to Florida in April.

“We didn’t realize we were in the same area for spring break,” Barbella said. “One of our moms posted on Facebook, and we realized we were like 10 minutes away from each other. We hung out every day in Florida. Things like that -- random coincidences -- happen to us all the time.”

As they reconnected on vacation, the pair had prom on the brain. According to Peters, they both had dates to their respective proms already, but nothing had been set in stone.

“If [our dates] fell through, we were going to ask each other,” Peters said.

Ultimately, Barbella popped the question, and on June 9, he took Peters to the Syosset prom at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan.

“We took the limo in, and his friends were so nice,” Peters said. “It was incredible; it was so beautiful.”

The evening was a tad bittersweet, as Peters and Barbella will soon be leaving Long Island. Barbella will pursue a computer science degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Peters plans to study business administration at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.

“Texting is so easy, we’re going to keep doing that,” Barbella said. “And we’ll see each other at family events over the summer.”

But the best friends don’t have to say goodbye just yet: On Wednesday, Peters will take Barbella to the Harborfields prom as her date. Both of them are happy to spend the season of celebrations together.

“I wanted to ask someone who was a good friend,” Barbella said, “and I knew we would have a fun time together.”


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